Scientists in the United States and India are reporting development of a high-protein variety of rice, dietary staple for half the world’s population. The study is scheduled for the Jan. 23 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Researchers have been trying to bolster the protein in rice for five decades. Rice already is a main source of calories as well as protein intake for billions of people, and its enrichment of protein would have a positive impact on millions of poor and malnourished people in developing countries, the report says.

In the study, Hari B. Krishnan and colleagues created a hybrid by crossing a commonly cultivated rice species called Oryza sativa with a wild species, Oryza nivara. The product showed a protein content of 12.4 percent, which is 18 percent and 28 percent higher than those of the parents.

The results demonstrate the potential for wild rice’s relatives for boosting the protein content in rice. The researchers conclude that the hybrid could serve as initial breeding material for new rice genotypes that could combine types with superior cooking quality with those of high protein content.

Source: ACS